I had a client call in today, who was wondering how he can file a lien on a project he is working on. This is a very normal call for us here at levelset, but the interested part of this request is that the client worked on a job located in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Everyone knows why this little cape on the Atlantic is famous, and that is because it is home to NASA.
From the limited phone call I was able to ascertain that the contractor was working on the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Space Shuttle Atlantis. This is the 90,000 sq ft $100 million home of the space shuttle Atlantis.
Who Owns NASA, Its Land And Structures?
When determining which rights are applied to certain types of construction work, the contractor or supplier must determine what type of project they performed work on. The typical three main types of projects 1) private construction, including residential, owner occupied residential and commercial, 2) state owned construction projects and 3) federal construction projects.
So naturally everyone’s first instinct is that NASA is an arm of the federal government. This is true. NASA was formally created by the National Aeronautics Space Act in 1958. NASA is under the executive branch of our Federal government. The natural thought is that NASA is Federally owned land, therefore a Miller Act Claim needs to be filed to preserve payment rights.
What Type of Document Needs To Be Filed To Preserve Payment Rights?
Although the work is for NASA, it is possible that the state of Florida could “own” the land. But its likely if work is being performed directly for NASA, then its Federal land. Resources for how to file a Miller Act Claim can be found on the levelset website. Since you cannot foreclose on federal land, a Miller Act Claim is more of a statutory bond claim.
Further if for some reason the state of Florida owns the land levelset offers resources on Florida’s Little Miller Act and how to file this document. The same reasoning applies as to why you cannot file a lien on the property but instead have to make a claim on the payment bond for the project.
When Would A Contractor Not Need To File A Miller Act Claim When Dealing With NASA Projects?
Its possible that work being done at or near a NASA site could be private. There are a number of large companies who perform work for the space organization offsite. Take a company like Lockheed Martin. LM works with NASA and has many ventures with NASA. A contractor could believe that he is working on a NASA project and not getting paid, where its possible the contractor is working for a private entity.
If the property is owned by a non-governmental entity, then the regular rules of mechanics liens apply.
So the moral of this story is to do your home work. Find out what type of project you are working on whether it be Federal, State or Private, it can effect your rights regarding how to go about getting paid.